James R. Rice is an American addressing the theoretical mechanics of solids and fluids in diverse applications, ranging from mechanical/civil engineering and materials physics to seismology, tectonic deformation and glaciology. He is widely known for his contributions to the path-invariant J-integral concept, for evaluating energy changes associated with crack extension in elastic solids, and characterising crack tip stressing. These findings have since been applied to develop industry standards for the safe design of pipes and pressure vessels.
More recently, James’s work has focused on mechanical principles underlying earthquakes and the effects of hydrological processes on mass movements in faulting, landslides, and great ice-sheet motions.
James has received a number of prizes in recognition of his work, including the 1994 Timoshenko Medal of the American Society of Mechanical Engineers, the Panetti–Ferrari International Prize for Applied Mechanics in 2008, and the 2013 Harry Fielding Reid Medal of the Seismological Society of America. In addition, he has been elected a Member of the US national academies of science and engineering, and of the French Académie des sciences.